There are certain things I love that don't love me back; cheese, garlic, wheat, milk, bean soup, sesame seeds, meat.  They cause havoc of some sort or another inside my system.  Havoc can escalate to near crippling proportions sometimes over them.  I love them, but to do so I pay a big price if I indulge.

I thought about loving things that don't love me back.  It's empty, hollow, not fulfilling, not soul satisfying, ultimately painful.  I eat those things very seldom and in very small portions if I do eat them at all.  Though I sometimes crave them, unless I am up for the pain, I choose to steer clear of them most of the time. 

A lot of wonderful things have happened in my world lately.  Those things are connected to people I love deeply and who love me back.  That loving combination makes them so much more enjoyable.

Sunday was the 14th birthday of my Mare Bear. I met her when she was four and lived across the street from me.  Nearly daily, for the 6 years I lived there, Mary would come over for chocolate and a cup of hot chocolate.  She was that grand kid I didn't have back then.  I love her frankness, her ability to just state the obvious.  And, she loves me right back. 

Yesterday was the birthdays of two people I love too.  Heather is my daughter gained through the magnificent love of remarriage with Doug.  She is, of our combined three daughters, the eldest at 32.  Life has taught her lots of stuff which has made her smarter than she might have been without those things.  She has beautiful thick long dark hair and can get up out of bed in that natural beauty sort of way.  When she smiles and laughs it is pure joy because she is truly in that moment.  I love her and I have come to know she loves me too.

Jill is my oldest sister's youngest child.  She is one of my five nieces and is mixed right smack dab in the middle of the lot.  She might, probably is, definitely the most like me of all of them.  What she thinks she says.  She is usually smiling, laughing and singing.  She's got a great voice and has always just been her own person.  I love Jilly.  She brings joy to wherever she is.  She loves me back.

Today was my twin niece's birthdays.  Tess and Chloe, now juniors in college, are very different from each other, yet a strand of familiarity cuts through them both.  Tess, from the time she was born, was obstinate, stubborn and strong willed.  She balanced that intensity with this big wild laugh.  As a toddler she would laugh so hard the big vein in her neck would pop out.  I used to love to get her to laugh just to get caught up in the joy of watching her lose it.  She is beautiful with flashy white teeth and long flowing blonde hair.  Her smile catches your attention.  She hugs me hard and I love her buckets full.  She loves me back as well.

Chloe is Tess' twin sister.  She is strikingly beautiful with a smile and eyes that give you a window into her heart and soul.  Pictures of her as a little kid show the same grin that she wears today.  Her desire to please has pushed her to the limits at times, but she has learned that being who you really are is the best place to be no matter what you think others want.  Every time she sees me she hugs me hard and picks me up off the floor.  Her sweet tender spirit and humility make me love her deeply.  She loves me back too.

Last Thursday we had our fourth grandchild - Mason.  His mom, Nicki, is my other daughter gained by marrying Doug.  Ben is married to Nicki and I also got lucky enough to get him as a son-in-law as well.  Their pregnancy was peppered with bed rest, early contractions and the hope that they would at least make it to 34 weeks.  Thursday was week 34 and Mason made his appearance 6 weeks early.  He's a little peanut, but doing great.

Ben and Nicki have been through a lot in the past couple of months.  They handled it with grace and more patience than I think most would have had in those circumstances.  Ben has this great sweet spirit and easy way about him.  Nicki is all of about 4'10", long dark wavy hair and the cutest smile you'd ever want to see.  They are going to be great parents.  They made me feel loved and part of the family from the first time we sat down with them to tell them we were getting married after 30 days.  I love all three of them.  They love me back too.  [I cannot wait to hold little Mason in a few weeks and hug both Nicki and Ben!]

When the things we love love us back it is powerful.  That is how God must feel when we choose to acknowledge how much He loves us and then love Him back.

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